Residents of Morris County should watch for a new vehicle roaming its at-risk areas. Hope One, a mobile recovery access center, is officially bringing addiction treatment to the streets.
The goal of the program is to remove barriers that prevent people from getting the treatment they need. Jennifer Carpinteri, County Director of Human Services, explains, “The goal is to enlist at-risk individuals, meeting them where they are. Hope One welcomes anyone affected by substance abuse and behavioral health issues to look out for the truck. The folks requiring services will be brought to a treatment facility or program, and not jail. We’re here for you.”
The Morris County Sheriff’s Office Community Services Unit has partnered with the Morris County Center for Addiction Recovery, Education and Success, the Morris County Department of Human Services, and the Mental Health Association of Morris County to bring this new approach to those in need.
How New Hope Brings Hope
The vehicle is equipped with Narcan kits, meal vouchers, and links to support services. The Hope One staff includes a certified peer-recovery specialist and a licensed clinician. They will be able to connect clients to appropriate services, pre-established available beds, and arrange for immediate transportation to treatment facilities.
The program is designed to further the cause of the Morris County Stigma-Free Communities Initiative. This effort “aims to eliminate the negative stigma associated with mental illness and substance-abuse disorders.”
“We’re going to at-risk populations two days a week, and we’re going to get people into treatment,” said Morris County Sheriff Jim Gannon. “We’re going to high-risk locations, where people frequent, sometimes to ingest heroin and opioids, and through education, we are going to talk these people into coming to treatment. We’re not looking to bring people to jail, but to bring people to treatment.” He further explained, “This is about getting those struggling with substance abuse off the street, and immediately connected with services, with the goal of returning them to be productive members of society and drug-free.”
A Step In the Right Direction
With drug overdose deaths across the nation totaling more than 50,000 in 2015, Americans are in desperate need for effective solutions. In Morris County alone, heroin deaths have increased 155 percent since 2011. Hope One proponents believe this program will be effective because it is a client-driven service. “We travel to the client; they do not come to us,” said Gannon.
Carpinteri noted, “This brand-new approach delivers services in a unique way, blending law-enforcement and social services to bring hope into communities.”
Additional Reading: Virginia Wants Treatment – Not Jail – For Its Addicted Citizens
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